MIRI: The state government is serious in tapping the great prospect in the tourism industry and would seek airline cooperation with Brunei and Sabah next year.
Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said Sarawak was keen to make Brunei its international gateway to lure more foreign tourists to the state.
“It is timely for us to work closely with Brunei as the country has lots of flights to Australia.
“We can use their international flight frequencies as our tourism marketing strategy to bring in more tourists from Australia to Sarawak,” he stated in his address when officiating at a Hari Raya open house organised by the Miri Malay Welfare Trust Board (LAKMM) at ParkCity Everly Hotel here onThursday.
Taib said the state government had discussed the matter with Brunei and Sabah for mutual tourism benefits.
The government through the Ministry of Tourism is now making the necessary preparation to turn the aspiration to reality.
He looked forward to such cooperation, to bode well with the state’s tourism industry.
“We are going to celebrate our 50th anniversary of partnership in the formation of Malaysia next year. Let’s turn this aspiration to greater tourism development as the biggest event to commemorate the celebration.”
In view of that, Miri being a resort city and the neigbouring city to Brunei would kick off the effort as the first tourist service centre for the state.
It is because, he said, the city had various tourism attractions such as Mulu, Niah National Park, beautiful beaches, foods and offered the best shopping facility in the state and many others.
He was impressed with the local tourism operators here for their successes in promoting rural tourism through the Internet, having attracted tourists from various countries, including Brunei.
In view of that, he called upon the tourism players here to work hand-in-hand to intensify the existing tourism promotion and marketing.
It was because the tourism industry was the most effective medium to agrresively push the state economic activities, he said.
Later at the same function, Taib witnessed a donation presentation from LAKMM in the form of a mock cheque worth RM5,000 to MRCS Dialysis Centre.
The donation was presented by the board chairman Datuk Abdillah Abdul Rahim.
A representative of Naim Charles Bateman through Naim Trust Fund, presented a mock cheque worth RM50,000 to LAKMM.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg, Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, Senior Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Assistant Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi, Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin, assistant ministers, assemblymen, Miri mayor Lawrence Lai and other dignitaries were among those present.